What are Common Causes of Neck and Back Pain?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Neck and back pain can be caused by a number of different problems in the spine or muscles of the back and shoulders. One of the most common causes of neck and back pain is poor posture, very often caused by long periods of sitting or standing. One's posture when sitting at a computer can cause neck pain, and chairs that do not offer ergonomic support can cause pain throughout the back. More serious issues may also cause neck and back pain, including spinal deformities, herniated discs, slipped discs, and spinal compression.

As the day progresses and the body is subjected to the forces of gravity, the spine will compress, causing neck and back pain. The muscles in the back can tighten as the spine compresses, leading to soreness or tenderness throughout the back and neck. Adequate stretching throughout the day can help alleviate some of the pain, and in more serious instances, anti-inflammatory medication may help. An inversion table, which allows the user to hang upside down, thereby elongating the spine, may also help relieve some of the pain associated with spinal compression.


Sitting at a chair all day long at an office can also cause neck and back pain. Sitting for long periods of time can mean the neck is in an awkward position for long stretches of time, and the lower back may not be adequately or properly supported. This problem is often exacerbated by typing at a computer for long stretches of time. Stretching throughout the day can again help relieve or prevent some of the pain, and anyone sitting for long periods of time should stand up and move around the home or office for several minutes at a time. An ergonomic chair can help support the lower back, preventing muscle tightness and straining throughout the back and neck. Ergonomic chairs often feature neck support as well to help keep the head and shoulders in the proper ergonomic position.

More serious issues can cause neck and back pain as well. A slipped disc — which occurs when a vertebra slips out of place, putting pressure on surrounding muscles, nerves, and bones — can cause severe pain throughout the neck and back. A herniated disc — which occurs when the gel-like fluid between vertebrae begins to narrow or leak into the spinal canal — can also cause severe pain. These conditions must be treated by a professional; such treatment often involves physical therapy, and in some cases even surgery to repair the damage.



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